The Isidor and Ida Straus Memorial is located at the intersection of Broadway and West End Avenue at W. 106th Street (Duke Ellington Boulevard) in Manhattan, New York City, sculpted by Augustus Lukeman. Photo taken by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick, February 2007.
After a visit to their native Germany, Isidor and Ida were travelling back to the United States with Ida’s recently-appointed maid, Ellen Bird, and Isidor’s manservant, John Farthing. Though the Straus’s usually travelled on German vessels, the lure of the newly-commissioned Titanic and all the luxury she could offer probably proved too much of a temptation for the journey home. On the night of 14 April, after Titanic had hit the iceberg, Isidor and Ida were directed to lifeboat eight. However, the ageing Isidor refused to board the lifeboat while there were younger men being prevented from boarding. Ida also refused to get into the lifeboat saying, ‘Where you go, I go’. Her maid Ellen was put into the lifeboat and Ida gave Ellen her fur coat, saying she had no further use for it.
Isidor and Ida were last seen together on deck holding hands before a wave swept them both into the sea. Isidor’s body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett and he was buried in New York’s Woodlawn Cemetery. Ida’s body was never recovered. Ellen Bird survived Titanic and died in 1949. John Farthing was lost with the ship and his body was never recovered.